Legislature Spends Thousands To Investigate Cooper Pipeline Connections
Governor Roy Cooper is criticizing Republican lawmakers for spending thousands of dollars on an investigation into his involvement with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline approval process.
The legislature hired a private investigating firm last December to probe a $58 million mitigation agreement between the Cooper administration and the utility companies developing a natural gas pipeline slated to run through eastern North Carolina.
The News and Observer reports that since then, the state has paid out nearly $60,000 to the investigators.
Cooper insists the mitigation fund is intended to spur economic and environmental projects along the pipeline. But some Republican lawmakers have accused the Democratic governor of inappropriate “pay-to-play activity.”
Cooper spokesman Ford Porter released a statement on Monday blasting the legislature for “wasting taxpayer dollars on a fake investigation.” Pat Ryan, a spokesman for Senate leader Phil Berger, said it was reasonable to pay for the investigation, equating the cost to a single day of a legislative session.
Neither the governor nor his staff members have agreed to speak with private investigators.